You love an open door. So do I. You want to be all things to all people– all of the time. But, that’s impossible. We open our office doors as a symbolic gesture saying, “I’m always here for you.” Good in theory. But, if Sam knocks in the middle of your meeting with Sally, someone loses.
I once had a boss whose open door policy (coupled with a high need for control), led to a constant line of people outside his open door, waiting for affirmation. Big time waster. Appointments would have worked better. So would empowerment (but that’s another post).
I’m over the constantly open physical door. All my eggs are in the metaphorical open door basket. Call me any time, about anything. And if I can’t get to you now, it will be very soon. If my doors shut with people inside, don’t knock unless it’s urgent. If it’s urgent, kick it in. No questions asked.
Why I Like an Open Door with Hinges
1. When I’m With You, I’m With YOU
A closed-door meeting provides time to focus on the who and now. Disappearing distractions build deeper connection and foster creativity. Get real, speak frankly, and get it done.
2. Power pauses
Many leaders drop everything when their boss calls. It’s a dangerous precedent. Your team is watching you. Your actions inadvertently say, “drop everything when I call too.” A closed door may help your boss to pause. Best to have a good signaling system for such occasions.
3. Taking it Offline
My world is filled with tough conversations. Too much crap is aired in big meetings. I’m a big fan of smaller meetings to speak (and listen to) tough truths.
4. Time to think
I love early mornings. The door is open and the air is full of ideas. But sometimes your best thinking can’t be scheduled. Sometimes vision must come fast. When you need a minute, close your door. Taking a minute to yourself may save your team hours.
5. _________ Your turn. Why do you close the door? Or are you in the open door all the time camp…? Would love to discuss both sides.
Behind Closed Doors: What Shutting Your Door Says to Your Colleagues (Forbes)
Is an Open Door Policy Killing Your Productivity? (Time Management Ninja)